At the center of Fardosa Hassan’s business is her passion for pastry. Hassan is the CEO of Rêves Doux Patisserie, an online bake shop specializing in French-inspired confections. (The name translates to “Sweet Dreams Patisserie”—a patisserie is a French pastry shop or bakery.)

With Rêves Doux, Hassan specializes in pastry art and customized cakes. Baking has been a hobby of hers for years.

“I think the first thing I tried to make was buttercream frosting,” Hassan said. “It was just a disaster.”

Baking practice has paid off for her, however. Now, she says her favorite thing to make is French macarons, which are sandwich cookies made out of discs of almond meringue and filled with various fillings, including jams, ganache, and even Hassan’s old nemesis—buttercream.

“It took me around seven tries to get it right,” Hassan said of the notoriously challenging cookies.

Rêves Doux Patisserie lacks a physical location, so Hassan’s customers contact her by phone or email, and she has them communicate what they want to her in minute detail. The back-and-forth of this process sometimes involves detailed sketches. One customer she mentioned ordered 200 red velvet cupcakes. Ironically, one of the first things she had to ask them about was what color they wanted them to be—”Red velvet doesn’t just come in red,” she said.

Sometimes Hassan delivers the goods to her customers, and sometimes they pick up their orders—whatever works best for both parties.

Hassan thought of the idea for Rêves Doux through involvement with Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!). She participated in an investors panel with YEA!, and, although she didn’t win outright, she was awarded the second largest amount of money given by the panel, $1800, which she put to various purposes for her business, including renting kitchen space and buying ingredients.

“I didn’t win,” Hassan said, “but I did get the second highest investment, which was $1,800. I used it for renting out kitchen space and buying ingredients.”

Hassan’s pastries have been earning her competitive accolades from FCCLA—aka Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, which encourages leadership and career development in family and consumer sciences. FCCLA holds STAR events—that stands for Students Taking Action with Recognition—in which Hassan took gold at the regional and state level, enabling her to go to the FCCLA’s national leadership conference in Atlanta in June. Hassan noted that only one student from each state gets sent to the conference.

Despite the achievements Rêves Doux has already garnered, Hassan hasn’t been able to make it too much of a focus yet.

“School’s kept me so busy,” she said. “I am determined to work more with it this upcoming school year.”

Hassan is still working on constructing a website for Rêves Doux Patisserie, but she does have an Instagram account for the business @revesdouxpatisserie. While she is serious about the patisserie, and she would like to eventually open a storefront for it, Hassan doesn’t necessarily intend it as a full-time career.

“For now I want it almost like a side job,” she said. “By 2020 to 2021 I want to at least be stable.”

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Austin Gerth